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Lawmakers Reach Short-Term Spending Deal to Reopen Federal Government

As the federal government shutdown entered its third day, lawmakers successfully reached an agreement to advance a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to reopen and fund the government through February 8. The Senate passed the latest CR by a vote of 81-18. The House approved the bill later in the evening by a vote of 266-150 and sent it to the President for his signature, allowing the government to completely reopen on Tuesday.

The deal provides Congress with three weeks to negotiate a broader spending deal – a trillion-dollar omnibus bill that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year (FY) – and resolve the disagreement over immigration that led to the government closure. The short-term spending bill included reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years. Additionally, the bill delays several Obamacare taxes: the medical device tax for another two years (2018 and 2019), the Cadillac tax for another two years (2020 and 2021), and the health insurance tax for one year starting in 2019.

Support for the CR from Senate Democrats hinged on assurances from Republican leadership on a path forward for voting on legislation to protect ‘Dreamers’ under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The White House previously rescinded DACA with a delayed implementation until the end of March. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stated his intention to reach a bipartisan solution on immigration before the stopgap-spending bill expires. Sen. McConnell committed to proceed to consideration of legislation to protect Dreamers should negotiators fail to reach a deal before the CR expires on February 8 so long as the government remains open. McConnell guarantees that the debate and amendment process would be fair to members on both sides of the aisle. According to Senate Democrats, the Majority Leader has also committed to fund community health centers and include additional money to combat the opioid crisis as part of the forthcoming omnibus spending bill.

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